Recent long drives in the country to attend Gonski campaign events have given me time to reflect on the 38 years I have spent as a teacher in NSW public schools.
For most of that 38-year period teachers have come under sustained political attack and our students treated like guinea pigs as governments experimented with ideas plagiarised from afar.
One experiment that no government ever attempted was additional recurrent funding delivered over a sustained period. That is, never attempted until the Gonski model was introduced just over two years ago.
For 38 years as a teacher I learnt to do without. That was our lot.
At one of the Gonski campaign stops, a country high school on the south coast, four young education students from the local university were on their first teaching practicum. They stood with us holding up a large Gonski banner.
And it was that moment that caused me to think of their future.
I certainly do not want the next generation of teachers to have to scrimp on resources, make do without and compromise on what they can achieve.
Teachers working without the tools, time and material needed for the tasks at hand is not a natural state of affairs. It is because governments choose other spending priorities.
Despite the evidence that teachers, when given adequate resources, can lift student achievement for all children including our most disadvantaged, the Turnbull government is prepared to kill off the one experiment that we know works.
The nation now has a clear choice at the federal election.
We can provide the tools the next generation of teachers need for the job or we can condemn them and their students to a world of daily compromises.
But the question that politicians who advocate cuts to Gonski funding should be made to answer is this: will you identify the children whose future you are prepared to compromise?
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